Sunday, July 16, 2006

Can Israel Strike Iran?

That's the question Powerline posed today, prompting a flood of e-mails and links from readers. Actually, we answered that question in some detail a few months ago. While Israel has more than enough F-16Is and F-15Is to mount a strike against targets in Iran, the real limiting factor is the number of KC-707 tanker aircraft in its inventory. The KC-707s are necessary to provide pre and post-strike aerial refueling for the fighters. By most estimates, Israel has only 5-7 KC-707s in the IAF inventory, enough to support the type of strike we described.

Additionally, Israel has an unknown number of Jericho II medium-range missiles. However, the missiles lack the accuracy that Tel Aviv would likely desire in an initial strike against Iran. But, in responding to an Iranian missile attack (using WMD), the Jerichos are more than sufficient to strike area targets, including Iran's population centers.


Papa Ray said...

Yes I recall all the war gaming here and at many other blogs. All predicated on known capabilities and best guesses and the imaginations of many keyboard generals.

But in contrast to the U.S. the Israel military capabilities and military secrets are not leaked, or if they are they most likely are disinformation.

Plus the fact that very few people, (maybe one or two) know what the answer would be if they asked for our assistance secretly.

We are trying to get them multi-thousands of gallons of jet fuel right now. The bill has made it half way, but we will see if it makes it through.

I just hope that whatever happens the planning has been done really really well and that murphy takes a holiday.

Papa Ray
West Texas

WAR46 said...

The pilots can continue on to Afghanistan or land in Iraq. In either case the worst that can happen is internment by the U.S. So as you may see, air refueling is only a problem when a follow up strike in necessary.

John (Useful Fools) said...

Without using nuclear weapons, I doubt there is much Israel can do to Iran. Iran is a big, big place, and Israel can put very few weapons into it.

Also, Iranian governnment behavior seems intended to provoke attacks. From fighting the US in Iraq, turning loose Hezbollah, tweaking the world about the nuclear program, and just generally acting beligerant, they seem to be trying their very best to draw an attack.

Given the unpopularity of the government, this may be a very good strategy. An attack would bring out the nationalist response among those who dislike the government, while providing the government a chance to crack down (even more) on dissidents. Furthermore, it would not stop an oil rich country like Iran from getting nukes - it might just slow them down a bit.

They are in a position where they cannot lose, unless some good guy pulls a rabbit from a hat, or the Iranians miscalculate and get turned into a glass factory - a very unlikely event.

Iran remains a very, very dangerous problem, with no obvious solution. The Iran-North Korea axis is even scarier, and throw in China's ties and things look downright bleak.

Coach Mark said...

Iran and Syria are becoming increasingly isolated.
If their proxies are removed from Lebanon and pushed back into Syria and Iran their influence diminshes, an obvious setback for them.

A necessary move which gives them less leverage in their nuclear "negotiations" as well.